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CBN moves to forestall food shortages amid COVID-19

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The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), has embarked on a large scale food production in some states, to ensure food security, especially during the dry season.

Under the strategy, the apex bank said it has developed immediate, short and medium term plans with agriculture as the major focus for achieving growth, diversification, and job creation.

The Director, Development Finance, Philip Yila Yusuf, said the CBN is working closely with respective states, and the private sector to grant long term facility to farmers within agricultural value-chains in a well-coordinated manner.

He pointed out that with the disruptions resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, the CBN has taken measures to ensure farmers have more to produce in the value chain to forestall a potential food crisis.

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He said: “We have started harvesting for some of our programmes. The activities of the middlemen will soon be a thing of the past. There will be availability of food, as we have started harvesting.

“For rice, we are working with the state governments to get land, and with the private sector to get them a long term facility to unlock all the forests and land.

“We are financing a lot in the agric value chain in the dry season, if not; we will have serious food shortages in the dry season. We must embark on a large scale during the dry season; we are working with the states.”

According to him, the apex bank has instituted a robust monitoring and evaluation framework, going around the banks to ensure funds are disbursed accordingly, and also visit project sites to ensure progress.

Recall that the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), predicted that the agricultural market in sub-Saharan Africa will reach $1 trillion by 2030.

As expected, Nigeria’s exponential population growth of over 200 million and counting, spells an even greater demand for food supply.

Unfortunately, food insecurity has been on the rise in Nigeria. Just a few months ago, the FAO predicted that seven million Nigerians will experience food shortages between June and August, this year, with 16 northern states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), identified to face a food and nutrition crisis.

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